Pacific Leadership Program trains civil servants

Leaders of border agencies in Samoa have been given an opportunity to learn and further develop their skills through the New Zealand Government-funded Pacific Leadership Program (PLP).  

According to Shane Panettiere from New Zealand's Customs, this is the program's second time in Samoa and it has been run in various Pacific Island countries.

"Initially the program was sort of focused on Customs at the border but this year, we’ve opened it broadly to all the border facing agencies. 

"Kind of more of a blended approach this time. So it becomes a twofold thing for us; trying to help develop relationship as well as collaboration, and actually working on those, as well as their collaboration is key, both to leadership as well as the organization's success," he said in an interview with Samoa Observer. 

Principal Officer for one of the technical teams in Samoa Customs, Lamauta Simanu, said the training has been very helpful in terms of highlighting the interdependence between border control agencies.

"It’s good to know views from other agencies, as this stresses that Customs help Police, Police helps Customs and we also can help Quarantine and Quarantine gives us information that we need.

"It’s the sharing of information which we need to come up with these ideas of sharing vital information so that we can all better secure our borders," she said. 

Ms. Simanu said by participating in the training, she hopes to gain her confidence in becoming a "productive and unbiased" leader for those under her supervision.

Vaeve'a Vesi Ioane,  who is a senior officer from the Samoa Quarantine Services, echoed similar expectations from the leadership program.

"But this program has helped build up the capacity of the officers to develop skills in terms of the betterment of performance in the field, as well as the effective managing of staff," he said.

Ministry for Revenue PLP coordinator Melesete Taula said participants for the program are made up of officers from Samoa Customs Services, Samoa Airport Authority, Samoa Quarantine Service, Samoa Immigration Office, Samoa Police Services as well as Custom officers from Cook Islands and Tokelau.

She said so far, there have been two drop outs, just two days into the leadership program.

"One of the biggest challenges is support. Upon commencing of the program, there have been two dropouts because once you miss out one session, you really are out.

"The challenge is time of the participants. This is why we are pleading to the chief executives to encourage their participants to utilize this great opportunity," said Ms. Tuala.

According to Ms. Tuala, the program funding was provided by the New Zealand Government with the help to facilitate the training, came from the New Zealand Police and Customs Office.

Held at Travellers Point, the official opening was commenced with welcoming remarks from Ministry of Revenue CEO, Matafeo Avalisa Viali-Fautua'alii and an opening prayer by Father Muliau Stowers, followed by opening remarks by the Deputy Prime Minster, Fiame Naomi Mata'afa.

During her keynote speech, Fiame expressed her gratitude on behalf of the people of Samoa to the New Zealand Government through its Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Customs Services, for the technical assistance extended to Samoa's Customs and other border agencies.


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